Update | 4:32 pm It looks like there is some confusion about the source of the fire, which the IAEA reported was “at the spent fuel storage pond.” Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi in the New York Times quote an “American official” saying the “fire there may have been caused by machine oil in a nearby facility.”  This is good news, but it also means I am trying to doing too much.  I am taking the rest of the night off.

FEPC has released another statement that confirms the spent fuel at Reactor 4 burned for about three hours before they were able to put it out.

This is very bad news — yesterday, I noted this was the wildcard scenario. The radiation release was very large — detectors recorded a measurement of 400 millisieverts per hour. Milli, not micro.  People can stop with the comparisons to airline flights or X-rays, unless you get your X-rays performed at DARHT.

If you are scoring at home, most folks I know seem to think we are at INES 6 now, heading for 7 (and the Ch-word) unless TEPCO catches a break.

Update to Information Sheet Regarding the Tohoku Earthquake

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) Washington DC Office

As of 11:00AM (EST), March 15, 2011

  • Radiation Levels

o      At 10:22AM (JST) on March 15, a radiation level of 400 milli sievert per hour was recorded outside secondary containment building of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      At 3:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 596 micro sievert per hour was recorded at the main gate of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      At 4:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 489 micro sievert per hour was recorded on the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      For comparison, a human receives 2400 micro sievert per year from natural radiation in the form of sunlight, radon, and other sources. One chest CT scan generates 6900 micro sievert per scan.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor

o      As of 10:00PM on March 14, the pressure inside the reactor core was measured at 0.05 MPa. The water level inside the reactor was measured at 1.7 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor

o      At 6:14AM on March 15, an explosion was heard in the secondary containment building.  TEPCO assumes that the suppression chamber, which holds water and stream released from the reactor core, was damaged.

o      At 1:00PM on March 15, the pressure inside the reactor core was measured at 0.608 MPa. The water level inside the reactor was measured at 1.7 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor

o      At 6:14AM on March 15, smoke was discovered emanating from the damaged secondary containment building.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor

o      At 9:38AM on March 15, a fire was discovered on the third floor of the secondary containment building.

o      At 12:29PM on March 15, TEPCO confirmed extinguishing of the fire.

  • Fukushima Daini Unit 1 reactor

o      At 7:00PM on March 14, TEPCO confirmed cold shutdown.

o      As of 12:00AM on March 16, TEPCO continues to cool the reactor core.

  • Fukushima Daini Unit 2 reactor

o      At 7:00PM on March 14, TEPCO confirmed cold shutdown.

o      As of 12:00AM on March 16, TEPCO continues to cool the reactor core.

  • Fukushima Daini Unit 3 reactor

o      At 12:15PM on March 14, cold shutdown.

o      As of 12:00AM on March 16, TEPCO continues to cool the reactor core.

  • Fukushima Daini Unit 4 reactor

o      At of 7:15AM on March 15, cold shutdown.

o      As of 12:00AM on March 16, TEPCO continues to cool the reactor core.